Five job interview tips for new graduates
Experience counts in today's job market. For graduates this means that employers want candidates who not only have the relevant qualification but also some level of proven experience.
However, many graduates struggle to secure a place in the world of work due to their lack of experience.
Of course, there are some university degrees that are still a required prerequisite for many jobs, such as in accountancy or life sciences.
In fields such as legal, professionals can't even practise without a university degree, which explains why employers looking for legal talent continue to request academic transcripts. It is the balance of a degree and experience that employers look for.
That's why university students who undertake professional work experience during their semester breaks stand out when they graduate and enter the job market. Even a few weeks gives a graduate an advantage over others who lack such experience.
Meanwhile employers in industries such as construction, property or sales find that relevant work experience is at least as important, sometimes even more so, than a degree.
Apprenticeships are another option, especially in industries such as construction and property.
The key is to mix study with experience to avoid becoming over-qualified.
For graduates to stand out we suggest the following:
1. An impressive resume
First, have a well-written resume that showcases your achievements and key skills. Include key information such as contact details (ensuring email addresses are appropriate), qualifications, experience and references (employers and recruiters will like to see that these are already available).
Qualifications and experience should be kept concise and the dates of completion should be shown with the month and year. Include work experience placements and one or two examples of your achievements in each to demonstrate your suitability for the role you are applying for. Finally, spell-check your CV.
2. Build an online profile and network
Create a LinkedIn profile so that you can be viewed by recruiters and potential employers. You can also use LinkedIn to reach out to recruiters and organisations.
3. Develop new skills
Show employers that you are able to use your initiative by staying on top of market trends and upskilling where appropriate. Highlight your digital capabilities, as all jobs now have a digital element to them.
4. Prepare for your interview
If you fail to prepare for interviews you narrow your chance of securing a job. Google, social media and a company's website can all provide an insight into the business and its culture.
Then prepare real-life examples that demonstrate how you are a suitable match for the business culture and the role you are applying for.
5. At the interview
Turn up on time, dress appropriately and switch off your mobile phone. During the interview, listen to questions being asked and think about your response before you start to answer.
For those considering further qualifications, our best advice is to align your studies with the role you wish to secure and gain work experience within that field.
Remember, even a few weeks puts you ahead of graduates without any relevant experience. For vocational career goals, ask employers if they offer apprenticeships as a foot in the door.